House Members Renew Call For The Capture Of Snowden As “Traitor” and Spy

228px-Picture_of_Edward_SnowdenMembers of Congress are shocked, shocked this week. No this Claude Rains moment was not over the hundreds of billions spent on unpopular wars or the creeping economy or the evisceration of civil liberties in America. No, that stuff is just fine. What had members struggling in front of reporters to avoid being sick in the halls of Congress was Edward Snowden. Yes, it is the latest classified hearing and the latest unclassified outrage to convince Americans that it is Snowden that they must fear despite polls saying that Americans fear their own government as much or more than terrorism. Thus, House Armed Services Committee members left the meeting and called again for Snowden to be captured and thrown in prison for life, if not executed. I previously wrote a column that a strong argument could be made for a presidential pardon, but the renewed effort to turn public opinion likely reflects a growing international view of Snowden as a whistleblower.

Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), chairman of the Armed Service panel’s Intelligence, Emerging Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee and also a member of the House Intelligence Committee said that he and his colleagues “left the briefing disturbed and angered” over the scope of damage done by Snowden (which went beyond the NSA program). That may indeed be true and the damage is a legitimate concern. However, the members have shown little concern over those NSA programs and continue to advance “reforms” that do little to address the attack on privacy and civil liberties. They also have done little to address the lack of any real avenue for whistleblowers like Snowden. The congressional oversight committees have long been viewed as little more than rubber stamps for the intelligence committee and no sane whistleblower would put his case and future in the hands of these committees.

Thornberry declared that Snowden is a spy since his “actions were espionage, plain and simple.” While the Obama Administration and congressional allies tried to paint Snowden as a spy earlier on, no one has bought that allegation. There is currently no evidence that he acted to assist, or acted at the behest of, a foreign government.

Nevertheless, Armed Services Chairman Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) read a statement that “Ed Snowden isn’t a whistleblower; he’s a traitor.” McKeon demanded that Snowden be “brought to justice.” Of course, the ultimate punishment for the crimes described by Thornberry and McKeon would be death.

There is a clear effort to ride out the concerns over civil liberties, preserve the NSA programs, and change the public persona of Snowden. Part of that effort is to redirect attention away from the unpopular NSA programs and focus on other security losses. I happen to agree with the concerns over the damage but I also cannot ignore the abuse that Snowden brought to light. It would be more convincing is these members showed the same disgust and voices the same demands for action over the loss of civil liberties as they do over the loss of intelligence.

61 thoughts on “House Members Renew Call For The Capture Of Snowden As “Traitor” and Spy”

  1. “That may indeed be true and the damage is a legitimate concern.” – JT

    The military NSA did it to themselves.

    Typical of the traitors to blame someone else for their wrongs.

    It is the criminal mafia state of mind … blame the “snitch” … rather than stop the crime.

  2. Why aren’t federal judges and prosecutors going after those members of Congress and DOJ officials that participated in torture and assassination programs? They aren’t in Russia, they live right here!

    Not condoning putting anyone in prison but if they throw stones at Snowden, we throw them back at the real criminal suspects!

  3. Too bad Snowden didn’t steal congressional member’s phone and internet metadata (and probably much, much more) and release that to the public.

    That might help them see the problem.

  4. From a speech by Senator Obama: “Let me start by saying that General Hayden is extremely well qualified for this position. Having previously served as head of the National Security Agency and as Deputy Director of National Intelligence under John Negroponte, he has thirty years of experience in intelligence and national security matters. And he was nearly universally praised during his confirmation to deputy DNI.

    Unfortunately, General Hayden is being nominated under troubling circumstances as the architect and chief defender of a program of wiretapping and collection of phone records outside of FISA oversight. This is a program that is still accountable to no one and no law.

    Now, there is no one in this Congress who doesn’t want President Bush to have every tool at his disposal to prevent terrorist attacks – including the use of a surveillance program. Every single American – Democrat and Republican — who remembers the images of falling towers and needless death would gladly support increased surveillance to prevent another attack.

    But over the last six months, Americans have learned that the National Security Agency has been spying on Americans without judicial approval. We learned about this not from the Administration, but from the New York Times and USA Today. Every time a revelation came out, President Bush refused to answer questions from Congress.

    This is part of a general stance by this Administration that it can operate with no restraints. President Bush is interpreting Article II of the Constitution as giving him authority with no bounds. ”

    Now when we learned about this from the NYTimes and USA today, why weren’t those traitors prosecuted? Why didn’t govt. officials threaten to kill the reporters and their sources as they do Snowden?

  5. It’s because he has shattered their smokescreen and they are being forced to be honest and open. Politicians don’t (generally) agree with citizens knowing everything about the state of the government and economy. Snowden helped everyone that didn’t already know realize that shady government activities aren’t just the makings for a good movie on Saturday night.

  6. I consider Snowden a hero. Our so-called Fourth Estate has proven itself to be nothing but stenographers spewing up biased talking points. Snowden has provided us with valuable information about how we are being lied to and the assault on our privacy. Without him we would still be listening to high ranking government officials lying under oath. To compound this tragedy, when perjury is discovered there are no repercussions for those committing the act.

  7. What we should be afraid of is our government calling a whistleblower a traitor…. Just because they congress are embarrassed and caught with their shorts down…. Doesn’t make it any less true what the government is doing is actually going on…

  8. I find it hard to read the statements from Congressman who are bought and sold by corporate entities, damaging our society and economy for the almighty campaign dollar, telling us someone is a traitor. Every congress person who thinks Snowden is a traitor should look in the mirror.

  9. This country’s biggest traitors are ‘Wrong-winged’ Tea Partiers…………… ‘Fiddling’ as America self-destructs. Edward Snowden has been nominated for the Nobel Prize…. which would be well deserved, and which should be taken away from Barack O-bummer, and awarded to Snowden instead!

  10. The “patriots” in Congress have allowed the CONSTITUTION to be violated again and again. They have allowed war criminals to go free and even honored them. They have rewarded profiteers and banksters. Of course they hate Snowden he told the American people what their government has been doing and we cannot have that. Let’s try BOOZE ALLEN first–according the the NYT they sold the NSA platform complete to the UAE. Congress won’t go after BA because BA did it for money and didn’t tell the Americn people the truth. Edward Snowden–hero.

  11. There are people, research scientists included (am I one such?), who understand system dynamics as a useful tool for making pragmatic sense of otherwise imponderable, intransigently difficult enigmas.

    Public safety, as a function of government and government actions is, methinks, an instance of an example of a process of such a form of enigma.

    It is atrociously simple for me to model spying as a necessary aspect of public safety, and treason as essential for human survival, given the nature of government and governance in terms of the present achievement of human self-understanding.

    Why so? In the absence of sufficient treason, including spying, common folks tend to fantasize dangers that do not actually exist, and tend to devise strategies to prevent risks that can never actually materialize.

    A classical method for preventing risks that will never actualize is to preempt them by attempting to destroy that which has been imagined as about to cause an event that will never materialize.

    Reacting to an event which has not happened causes an event which otherwise would not happen. There is a name for that process, “Self-fulfilling prophecy.”

    The nifty thing about self-fulfilling prophecy is that it seems to validate the prophecy without doing so.

    Why, according to my use of system dynamics, did the Soviet Union and the United States of America not play the mad game of mutually-assured destruction? Because both countries did enough spying and treason to understand that mutually-assured destruction would assuredly destroy both countries.

    Destroying our individual personal freedom for the sake of saving it is insane madness?

    Destroying something to save it is about as insane as madness ever gets?

  12. randyjet, You’ve brought wishful thinking to a new level. There will be no pardons for Snowden. The best that can happen for him is that he find a better country than Russia to live the rest of his life.

  13. The idea that Snowden was engaged in any kind of espionage is absurd on its face. A REAL spy would NEVER have revealed what he did. The whole point of espionage is to prevent the persons spied on from knowing that such intel is in the opponents hands. Indeed, during WWII, the British took no extraordinary measures to defend Coventry when they knew it was the target of a massive bombing raid by the Luftwaffe so as to not tip off the Nazis that they had broken their codes. It shows the lack of intellect on the part of our Congressmen from Texas and/or their corruption and cynicism. Either they are stupid or they think that we are, in either case they need to be voted out of office.

    I agree that he deserves a pardon either by Obama or by Congress.

  14. Greenwald’s latest article:

    ‘Dirty Tricks’

    By Matthew Cole, Richard Esposito, Mark Schone and Glenn Greenwald, Special Contributor


    “British spies have developed “dirty tricks” for use against nations, hackers, terror groups, suspected criminals and arms dealers that include releasing computer viruses, spying on journalists and diplomats, jamming phones and computers, and using sex to lure targets into “honey traps.”

    Documents taken from the National Security Agency by Edward Snowden and exclusively obtained by NBC News describe techniques developed by a secret British spy unit called the Joint Threat Research and Intelligence Group (JTRIG) as part of a growing mission to go on offense and attack adversaries ranging from Iran to the hacktivists of Anonymous. According to the documents, which come from presentations prepped in 2010 and 2012 for NSA cyber spy conferences, the agency’s goal was to “destroy, deny, degrade [and] disrupt” enemies by “discrediting” them, planting misinformation and shutting down their communications.”

    COINTELPRO tactics…, but much worse.

  15. Their position that he isn’t a whistleblower would be much stronger if he hadn’t provided evidence that the government was engaging in acts that its officers had specifically denied engaging in while testifying under oath.

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